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Williams v. Taylor

United States Supreme Court
529 U.S. 362 (2000)


Facts

Terry Williams (defendant) was convicted and sentenced to death. The Virginia Supreme Court affirmed. Williams petitioned the Danville Circuit Court for relief for ineffective assistance of counsel. The judge found Williams’ attorneys did not offer mitigating evidence at sentencing or give “reasonable, professional competent assistance of counsel” required by Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984), but the Virginia Supreme Court denied rehearing. Williams requested federal habeas relief under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA), 28 U.S.C. § 2254. The court found the death sentence invalid, but the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed, holding § 2254(d)(1) forbids relief unless the state court construed or applied the law in a way that is unreasonable to all reasonable jurists. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Stevens, J.)

Concurrence (O’Connor, J.)

Concurrence (Stevens, J. (Part II))

Concurrence/Dissent (Rehnquist, C.J.)

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